Neighbourhood first: India to gift COVID-19 vaccines to Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh , New Delhi, India Published: Jan 18, 2021, 09.32 PM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( PTI )

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India is expected to gift Bangladesh 2 million doses of COVISHIELD on January 20, an Indian vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India

India will gift Bangladesh 2 million doses of COVISHIELD on January 20, which is an Indian vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India. COVISHIELD is based on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and the gifted consignment will arrive at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka. 

The move is in its final planning stages and certain preparations have started in Dhaka. Bangladesh's Director-General of the Department of Health, Prof. Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam confirmed the development to WION. Bangladesh's health minister Zahid Maleque speaking at a press conference earlier today in Dhaka said,"Indian government will send some Covid vaccines to Bangladesh as a gift".

This will be followed by the start of commercial supplies. The first commercial shipment will reach the country by January 25. In November of last year, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, Bangladesh's biggest pharma company, Bangladesh government and Serum Institute of India signed a tripartite agreement to buy 30 million doses of COVISHIELD covid vaccine. 

Under the agreement, the Bangladeshi govt will pay SII for the 30 million doses of the vaccine and Beximco Pharma will receive a separate fee for its distribution role. Beximco Pharma is the exclusive distributor of the vaccine in Bangladesh and will be responsible for maintaining the cold chain, import, storage, and delivery of the vaccine.

The development comes as India on Saturday began its mega all India vaccination programme. Last year, during foreign secretary Harsh Shringla's Bangladesh visit he had assured that when it comes to COVID vaccine, Bangladesh will be a priority under New Delhi's Neighbourhood First policy.

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